Hot plates: Cafe Rumah

Kaya-filled madeleines.
Kaya-filled madeleines. Photo: Daniel Munoz

Address 71-73 Campbell Street, Surry Hills
Opening hours Mon-Sat 7.30am-4pm
Pro tip There's no phone number or website, so it's a bit of a leap of faith trying to get in contact with these guys. Cross your chest and hope for the best.
Try this The Asian Cuban is numero uno when it comes to the sambos.
Bottom line Asian Cuban ($14); curried egg ($10); salad ($6)
Like this? Check out Boon for more Asian sandwich times. 1/425 Pitt Street, Haymarket.

Six words for you: Kaya-Filled Madeleines Baked To Order. There. Go forth and make a party in your mouth. "Gah! Dear lord!" you might say. "Where?" Find 'em at Rumah – a new Malaysian-inspired cafe offering south-east Asian spins on Sydney cafe staples.

Boon started it and Rumah continues the theme of Western sambos with an Asian bent. A sandwich menu looks pretty innocuous at first, but on second glance there's a little more to it. Take that Asian Cuban – thin slices of juicy five-spice roasted pork make best friends with mystery lunch meat (just imagine those soft processed meats you'd find on a banh mi and apply the same logic here) all covered with mustard and melted cheese on a golden, toasted roll. Take delight in the straight-up, old-school curried egg, brought up to date on toasted sourdough.  

Rumah in Surry Hills. The room in general sets a certain tone: breezy, casual, and seemingly effortless.
Rumah in Surry Hills. The room in general sets a certain tone: breezy, casual, and seemingly effortless.  Photo: Daniel Munoz

Vegetarians, you may actually have the opportunity to create a complete lunch here without having to order a series of side dishes to sub in for the main event. Though on that, it would definitely pay to order the soba noodles, with chunks of lightly sauteed tofu, onion, carrot and the odd rogue soybean. You may even choose to pick around the Chinese sausage in a salad of quinoa, tomato and cucumber (they're calling it "Isaan quinoa" on the menu, which is kinda cute). It just depends how devoted to the cause you really are.   

Dining solo? Rumah is well kitted out when it comes to quality reading material. A pile of New York mags in the corner sets a lunchtime reading agenda. The room in general sets a certain tone: breezy, casual, and seemingly effortless. The menu is pretty much all executed via a sandwich press, the ceilings are high and white and the entire menu is pinned on a massive felt board. Rumah has it there's also an 11am secret sandwich, and we will definitely be back for breakfast roti.  

Service is … idiosyncratic. How does a toasted sandwich arrive before a cold drink? And why was I only told the salad I'd ordered had run out only after that sandwich arrived? Lucky, then, for those madeleines. The puffy, hot little cakes are injected with kaya – that magical Malaysian coconut-egg jam that haunts our dreams and arteries. Welcome, Rumah – a kopitiam Sydneyfied for 2016.

The Asian Cubano.
The Asian Cubano. Photo: Daniel Munoz